« AnteriorContinuar »
charity, at the same time that lis body feemed but 100 much to require it. His lodging was in a small chamber up four pair of stajrs, where he regularly paid for what he bad when he eat or drank, and he was often observed wholly to abstain from both. He declined speaking to any one, except the queen, or her brst minister, 10 whom he attempted to make some applications; but his real business or intentious were utterly unknown to all men. This much is certain, that he was obnoxious to the queen's ministry; who, either out of jealousy or envy, had hin Spirited away, and carried abroad as a dangerous person, without any regard to the knowo laws of the kingdom.
One day, as this gentleman was walking about dinner: time alone in the Mall, it happened that a manuscript dropt from under his cloak, which my fervant picked up, and brought to me. It was written in the Latin tongue, and contained many most profound secrets, in an unutual turn of reasoning and stile. The first leaf was inscribed with these words, Codicillus, seu Liber Memorialis, Mar. tini Scribleri. The book was of fo wonderful a nature, it is incredible what a desire I conceived that moment to be acquainted with the author, who, I clearly perceived, was foine great pbilosopher in disguise. I leveral times endeavoured to speak to him, which he as often industrie ously avoided. At length I found an opportunity (as lie stood under the piazza by the dancing-room in St. James's) to acquaint him in the Latin congue, that his manuscript was fullen into my bands; and laying this, I presented it to him, with great encomiuns on the learned author, Hereupon he took ine alide, furveyed me over with a fixed attention, and opening the clasps of the parchment cover, fpoke (to my great furprise) in English, as follows.
* Courteous stranger, whoever thou art, I en brace “ thee as my best friend ; for either the stars and my art
are deceitful, or the deained time is come, which is to “ manifest Martinus Scriblerus to the world, and thou 56 the perion chosen by fate for this talk. What thou feeft “ in me, is a body exhaufied by the labours of the inind. 6 I have found ia Dame Nature nct indeed an unkiud, “ but a very coy mistress. Watchful nights, anxious so days, slender mcals, and endless labours, must be the
" lot of all who pursue her through her labyrintlis and "s meanders.
My first vital air I drew in this island (: “ foil fruitful of philosophers), but my complexion is be
co ne adult, and my body arid, by visiting lands (1s " the poet has it), alio fub fole calentes. I have, through
my whole lite, paffed under feveral disguises and un“ known names, to screen myself from the envy and “ inalice which mankiud express against tl.ofe wlio ale “ poffefed of the Arcanum Magnum. But at prefent I
am forced to take sanctuary in the British couri, to a. " void the revenge of a cruel Spaniard, who has pursucu
me almost through thewhole terraqueous globe. Being's " about four years ago, in the city of Madrid, in quiet of “ natural knowledge, I was informed of a lady, who
was marked with a pomegranate upon the intide of “ her right thigh, which blossomed, and, as it were, “ seemed to ripen in the due season. Forthwith was I
poffessed with an insatiable curiosity to view this won“ derful phæuomenon. I felt the ardour of my passion “ increale as the sealon advanced, till, in the month of “ July, I could no longer contain. I bribed her duenna,
was admitted to the bath, saw her undressed, and the " wonder displayed. This was soon discovered by the “ husband, who finding some letters I had writ to the " duenna, containing expressions of a doubtful meaning, “ fulpected me of a crime most alien from the purity of
my thoughts. Incontinently, I left Madrid by the ad“ vice of friends; have been pursued, dogged, and way. “ laid through several nations, and even now scarce think “ myself secure within the sacred walls of this palace. It “ has been my good fortune to have seen all the grand “ phænomena of nature, excepting an earthquake, which « I waited for in Naples three years in vain ; and now,
by means of some British ship (whose colours no Spa" niard dare approach*), I impatiently expect a safe pal“ sage to Jamaica, for that benefit. To thee, my friend, 66 wbom fate has marked for my historiographer, I leave w these my Commentaries, and others of my works. - No more be faithful and impartial.”
* This marks the time when the Introduction was written.
He soon after performed his promise, and left me the Commentaries, giving me also further light by many conferences; when he was unfortunately fnatched away, as I before related, by the jealousy of the queen's ministry.
Though I was thus, io my eternal grief, deprived of his conversation, he, for lone years, continued his correlpondence, and communicated to me many of his projects for the benefit of mankind. He sent me some of his writings, and recommended to my care the recovery of others, itraggling about the world and affumed by other
The last cime I heard froin him, was on occasion of his strictures on the Dunciad; since when, several years being elapled, I have reason to believe this excellent person is either dead, or carried by his vehement thirst for knowledge, into some remote, or perhaps undi'covered re. gion of the world. In either cale, I think it a debt no longer to be delayed, to reveal what I know of this
pro. digy of science, and to give the biltory of his life, and of bis extensive merits, to mankind ; in which I da re promise the reader, that, whenever he begins to think any one chapter dull, the file will be immediately changed in the pext.
MEMOIRS of MARTINUS SCRIBLERUS*.
ΒΟ Ο Κ Ι.
CH A P. I.
Of the parentage and family of Scriblerus, how he was begot, what care was taken of him before he was born, and what prodigies attended his birth.
N the city of Munster in Germany, lived a grive and learbed 'Gentleman, by protellion an antiquary : who, among all his invaluable curiofiries, eldeemed
none more highly thin a skin of the true Pergainenian parchment, which hung at the upper end of his ball.
* Mr Pope, Dr. Arbuthnot, and Dr. Swift projected to write a fatire in conjunction, or the abuses of human learning ; and to make si the better reccived, they proposed to do it in the manner of Cervantes (the original author of this species of fatire), under thc history of fome feigned adventures. They had observed those abuscs Itill kept their ground against all that the ableft and gravest authors would say to discredit them; they concluded therefore, the force of ridicule was wanting to quicken their disgrace; which was liere in its place, when the abofes had been already detected by fober reafening; and truth in no danger to suffer by the prematu're use of so powertol an instrument. Eut the separation of Mr Pope's friends, which foon after happened, with the death of one and the infirmiries ri the other, put a small stop to their project, when they had only davn oat on iinperfect effay towards it, under the title vi The farine Back of x Memoirs of Scriblerus.
Polite Leiters never loft more than in the defeat of this scheme, in wich, each of this illustrious triomvirate would have found exercise for his own peruviar talent ; besides conftant employment for that they all had in comunion. Dr Arbuthnot was killed in every thing wwich related to frience; Mr Pope was a master in the five aris; en! Dr Swift excelled in the knowledge of the worlat. Wir they had all in equal measure; and this to large, as no age perhaps ever produced
re men, to whom Vatrore bad more bountitully beltuned it, or mit bringlie is to higher perfection. Il arburton.
On this was curiously traced the ancient pedigree of the Scribleri, with all their alliances and collateral relations, (among which were reckoned Albertus Magnus, Paracelfus Bombastus, and the famous Scaligers, in old time Princes of Verona), and deduced even from the times of the Eider Pliny to Cornelius Scriblerus : for such was the name of this venerable personage ; whofe glory it was, that, by the fingular virtue of the women, not one had a head of a different cast from his family.
His wife was a lady of fingular beauty, whom not for that reason only be espouled, but because she was undoubted daughter either of the great Scriverius, or of Gal. par Barthius. It happened on a time, the said Gaspar snade a visit to Scriverius at Harlem, taking with brim a comely lady of his acquaintance, who was killed in the Greek tongue, of whom the learned Siriverius became fo enamoured, as to inebriate his friend, and be familiar with his mistress. I am not ignorant of what Columefius * af. firms, that the learned Barthius was not so overtaker, but he perceived it; and in revenge fuffered this unfortunate gentlewoman to be drowned in the Risine at her return. But Mrs Scriblerus (the iffi.e of that amour) was a living proof of the falfhood of this report. Dr. Cornelius was farther induced to his marriage, from the certain information that the aforesaid lady, the mother of his wite, was related to Cardan on the father's side, and to Aldrovandus on the mother's: besides which, her ancestors had been professors of phyfic, astrology, or chemiltry, in German universities, from generation to generation.
With this fair gentlewoman bad our Doctor lived in a comfortable union for about ten years : but this our fober and orderly pair, without any natural infirmity, and with a constant and frequent compliance to the chief duty of conjugal life, were yet unhappy, in that heaven had not blelled them with any issue. This was the utmost grief to the good man; ep.cially considering what exact pre. cautious and methods he had used to procure that blesfing: for he never had ccha'it ilion with liis (pouse, but le pondered on the rules of tlic ancients, for the
genera* Columelius relates this from Isaac Vuilius, in his Opuscula Pune.